30 Oct 2017
The Department of Fair Trading have put together the following tips to help tenants avoid problems while renting:
- Photos are a great way to record the condition of the property when you first move in. Take date-stamped photos of the property, especially areas that are damaged or unclean. Keep these photos in case the landlord objects to returning your bond at the end of your tenancy.
- Keep a copy of your lease, condition report, rent receipts, Rental Bond Number and copies of letters/emails you send or receive in a safe place where you can easily find it later.
- Never stop paying your rent, even if the landlord is not complying with their side of the agreement (e.g. by failing to do repairs). You could end up being evicted if you do.
- Comply with the terms of your lease. In particular, never make any alterations, keep a pet or let other people move in without asking the landlord or agent for permission first.
- Keep a diary of your dealings with the landlord or agent – record all the times and dates of conversations, who you spoke to and what they agreed to do. If repairs are needed, put your request in writing to the landlord or agent and keep a copy. This type of evidence is very helpful if a dispute arises that ends up in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
- Consider taking out home contents insurance. It will cover your belongings in case of theft, fires and natural disasters. The landlord’s building insurance, if they have it, will not cover your things.
- If the property has a pool or garden, be clear about what the landlord or agent expects you to do to maintain them.
- Be careful with what you sign relating to your tenancy and do not let anybody rush you. Never sign a blank form, such as a ‘Claim for refund of bond’ form.
- If you are happy in the place and your lease ends, consider asking for the lease to be renewed for another fixed term. This will remove the worry about being unexpectedly asked to leave and can help to lock in the rent for the next period of time.
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